How Augmented Reality (AR) Will Transform Residential Real Estate

The residential real estate industry is constantly adapting to adopt emerging technologies. It has already seen many changes in recent years, but something that is predicted to make an impressive impact this year is AR, or augmented reality. Recent developments have enabled an AR “internet of places” that will bring more industry benefits than the current trend of VR, or virtual reality.

What is the difference between AR and VR?

Virtual reality (VR) provides a complete immersion experience for a user that shuts out the physical world. If you’ve ever seen a gamer wearing a black headset over their eyes, they are using VR to virtually see a different world. This technology is rooted in the gaming industry, and although VR has proven to bring ROI in the real estate industry, it does not have the same potential that augmented reality (AR) brings for what the industry needs. AR adds digital elements to a live view, commonly by using a smartphone or camera, while VR is more immersive, AR provides more freedom for the user and more possibilities for marketers.  


Here are a few current and developing trends of AR you can expect to see being used in the real estate industry in the near future.

Virtual Model Homes & Virtual Staging

It can be difficult to describe a home to someone who has never seen it. This scenario is common for international buyers, who often have to purchase a property purely based on online photos and information provided by their real estate agent. This is also a road block for new development projects where condos and homes are being marketed as pre-sale to sell before they are built. AR offers a solution to these problems, as it is a powerful tool for bringing a future property to life, and enables tours of the properties which make it possible for potential buyers to visualize the space. Mobile AR apps allow users to scan an empty space or a brochure with their smart phone, bringing the space to life on their screen. Augmented reality visualization works better than photos and videos, as they accurately visualize large buildings through 3D models.


Self-guided Tours for Open Houses

AR has enabled the idea of self-guided tours for open houses to become a reality. This would allow real estate agents more time because they won’t have to physically be at a property in order for potential buyers to see it. This would allow agents to drop interactive content like self-guided tours onto key areas of the house. Users could then change the interior style of the home to reflect their aesthetic preference, allowing them to get a better feel for their future home.

Shared Social Experiences

New AR capabilities will enable stakeholders to socially share information left by others. Because technology is changing at such a rapid pace, the acts of selling a home and purchasing a home are bound to become experiences shared socially. For example, you will be able to point your smart phone camera at a for sale sign and instantly see the price, year built, as well as the option to comment and view other comments made on the home.